Tag Archives: Family

365 Days Later

2015 sucked. Yes I’m being that blunt. While there were highlights, generally speaking, I couldn’t wait to see 2015 go.

365 days ago, at the exact moment this blog post was published, my family lost its matriarch and I lost one of my best friends. Losing my grandmother shook my family to its core and one year later, all of us are still feeling aftershocks.

While I certainly miss Nana and think about her everyday, her death triggered much more for me. As I watched my mother and aunt tend to her tirelessly, I thought to myself: this is going to be me one day. I will be responsible for my parents and I will have to say goodbye.

It was during this realization that for the first time I actually felt like an adult. As we laid my beautiful Nana to rest and handled the details, I grew up, almost instantaneously.

Grief comes in waves, striking us in the least opportune moments. We can’t control this no matter how much time has passed since the trauma. But what else comes with grief? For me, it brought along a paralyzingly fear. Fear that those I love most would suddenly rise to heaven leaving me here hopeless and terrified. I made decisions based on this irrational fear. It influenced my personal relationships and professional interactions. It consumed me. All the time. Even when I wasn’t aware of it. I’d think I was getting ahead of it only to experience another painful loss that put me right back where I started.

It is only thanks to two of my colleagues who asked some profound questions that got me recognizing this emotion and how it shows up for me. This fear isn’t going away but I am much more aware of how it attacks the most innocent of situations. No matter how petrified I might be, I can’t control destiny. I can’t save anyone. I can live each day making decisions based on my happiness, not my fear.

I share this with you my friends so you know you’re not alone. Whatever you’re feeling after a traumatic event is justified. I’m so glad someone gave me the permission to feel all the feels. It was what I needed. I hope you can too, so we all can begin to heal and move forward.

I am forever grateful to my angel grandmother, for teaching me so many of life’s lessons even from afar.

Feb 2015 370

Time to Transition

We’ve all felt them; that pang of guilt, fear, what have you as we shift from young adulthood to full-blown adulthood. While it may not happen all at once, the transition to fully responsible for yourself and your happiness is a rough journey for most. Growing pains seep into all areas of our life: our family, our interpersonal relationships and our professional life.

It seems that creating boundaries with family is typically harder when you’re closer with your family OR when they are more involved in your life. Some of this may be on them for wanting to know every detail or on us for sharing every detail. As I begin the process of moving out, these boundaries with my family are necessary for my survival. Their drama, insecurities and issues are not mine to take on. Everyone repeat after me: the problems of my parents, siblings and extended family are not mine to fix. I will always love my family, but a line has to be drawn somewhere.

20 somethingLooking at interpersonal relationships is probably where the sharpest growing pains are felt for the majority of transitioning adults. You have your group of friends from all parts of your life: childhood, high school, college and beyond. You believe this group of friends will be with you forever. But then life happens and people mature and experience life phases at different speeds. Some friends are married right after college while others go off to graduate school. Just because everyone is at a different phase doesn’t mean friendships have to end. It means everyone needs to keep in perspective that we are experiencing things differently. It is not always easy but is absolutely worth it. Significant others are a whole other ballgame. Bottom line is you need to find someone who will grow with you, who loves you for all you are today and everything you will become tomorrow.

In the workplace, growing pains are felt in a completely different way. For me, almost all of my colleagues are older than me so they’ve experienced this transition already. Some are sympathetic and remember what it felt like to find their first apartment. Others can’t be bothered. In this time of change, it’s important to remain confident (not cocky) at work. You may not have it all figured out (no one does), but you must be willing to learn. Age is just a number; don’t let it or others intimidate you.

Everyone goes through the transition from recent college graduate to adult at different times and at different speeds. The fact remains that this is the time to be selfish, live your life for you and no one else. Find what makes you happy and do it as often as possible. Book that trip, run that 5K, but whatever it is, do it for you and no one else. As always, a Beyonce song is all too appropriate for this phase of our lives. While “Grown Woman” gives off a cocky vibe, the meaning behind the song is a good reminder for all of us struggling with this transition. We are adults and can do whatever we want. Have a listen below and share your thoughts with me!

30 Days of Being Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you are with family and friends, enjoying good food all day long. I have my elastic pants ready to go and the parade is already on!

Throughout the month of November, I’ve seen lots of my Facebook friends post something they are thankful for each day. While admirable, I knew I could not keep up each day. So in honor of Thanksgiving, below are my 30 days of thankful, one for each day of November.

I am thankful for: 

1) the greatest group of girlfriends anyone could possibly ask for.

2) being raised to have macaroni and meatballs every Sunday while the Giants game plays in the background.

Cuddle bugs even at 9 and 10!

Cuddle bugs even at 9 and 10!

3) a nine and ten year-old who expect nothing from me and who still love cuddling.

4) my 20 year-old brother. While he can be challenging, life would not be the same without him, especially for my parents.

5) being close to the greatest city in the world and for getting to see the bright lights of Times Square almost everyday.

The most fun co-workers

The most fun co-workers

6) all of my amazing co-workers who make sure work doesn’t always feel like work, especially the two women to the right who let me be myself and make each day fun.

7) being a part of the wedding of the year and getting to see my friend so extremely happy.

Wedding of the year!

Wedding of the year!

8) the ability to travel and see so many great places.

9) Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Chicago Fire and Glee that allow me to escape reality for a couple of hours each week.

10) seeing sunsets in California.

11) wine and cheese.

12) my running buddy, who challenges me to push myself further and to be a better person.

The best running buddy

The best running buddy

 

 

 

 

13) job security and doing work I believe in.

14) long distance friendships that can pick up exactly where they left off.

15) being real-world ready thanks to my Temple University education.

16) my parents who love me more than anything in the world and who make me laugh so incredibly hard.

17) my previous job as a Resident Assistant; a job that taught me how to respond in an emergency and where I met so many amazing people.

18) for FaceTime, instagram and Skype..so I can see those I care about almost whenever I want.

Just two of many little cousins!

Just two of many little cousins!

19) these beautiful little girls and all my little cousins who let me be a kid whenever I want.

20) the Dunkin Donuts, Wells Fargo ATM and Duane Reed in Penn Station because I typically forget something on my commute in.

21) my large, loud, crazy and stubborn Italian family. Without them, I don’t make sense.

22) good music and dance parties.

23) club rockstar.

24) planes, trains and buses that get me where I need to be.

25) heated mattress covers

26) laughter

#TempleMade

#TempleMade

27) my guardian angels who manage to keep me safe and watch over me morning, noon and night.

28) a Thanksgiving feast that will be complete in time for the 8:30pm football game.

29) Santa Claus, Elf on the Shelf and the magic of Christmas.

30) outstanding grandparents, who spoil me and share all of our family stories with me.

Truer words have never been spoken

Truer words have never been spoken

In Remembrance

Last night, I slept at my cousin’s apartment which happens to be right next to the 9/11 Memorial. Even at 10pm last night, security was present, blocking off streets and redirecting traffic. This morning, there was an NYPD officer at every corner, every subway entrance and at every building entrance. Who could have imagined the events of September 11, 2001 and now, no one can forget them.

I can tell you every detail about that day, from sitting in my 6th grade social studies classes, watching students leave school one by one to sitting outside at recess wondering with my friends what was going on. I distinctly remember meeting my mom at the bus stop and thinking how weird it was since our bus stop was only three houses away. I remember the entire two-minute conversation I had with my dad and the feeling of relief I had when I knew he was alright. I remember the first images I saw and the great sadness I felt. I remember it all.

At the time, all of my parents worked in Manhattan as well as almost all of my aunts and uncles. Our lives could have turned out a lot differently that day. I know it effected my dad and stepmom, who lost lots of friends. I know my aunts and uncles will never forget watching the plane burst into flames as it hit the first tower. I can’t help but feel eternally grateful that my loved ones returned home safely that day, when so many others didn’t.

As I commuted to work this morning, I thought about those who lost their lives 12 years ago today. The only crime they committed was going to work. They were innocent. Now being someone who goes into Manhattan every day, what happened that day hits me even harder. All those people did was go to work like they were supposed to. Today is truly an example of how quickly life can change.

We should not sit and cry all day today, though we might want to. Hug your loved ones a little tighter and celebrate your life. And never forget what happened on 9.11.01.

911

Reflections: 365 Days Later

gradHappy 100th blog post to me! I can’t believe this is my 100th post OR that I graduated college a little over a year ago. As I walked through Manhattan yesterday, I saw crowds of new alumni, taking pictures and waving their tassels in the air. I was instantly taken back to my graduation only one short year ago. Two of my friends and fellow bloggers already revisited their graduations through detailed and touching blog posts. Lauren gave a recap of her last year that did in fact bring me to tears while Jess provided solid advice for recent graduates. Their posts have inspired me to reflect on my last 365 days instead of crying about them.

Within the last year, I’ve divided my life into four major areas, listed below, in order of their current importance. While I strive for balance, I recognize that life will never be perfectly balanced; there will always be competing priorities. Here is my synopsis of the last year and the lessons I’ve learned within each of the following areas:

  • Career: Perhaps the most important part of your postgraduate life, my career still doesn’t seem steve martinreal most days. I am not in the industry I studied in school nor do I get to write as often as I expected. However, I am learning more each day while enjoying new projects, like building social media sites, something I never thought I could do. I also work with amazing people who challenge me, respect me and help me better myself. In reality, there is no such thing as the perfect job. You must be passionate about what you do but it’s ok to admit if your passions have changed. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Personal: This is probably the hardest area of my life and where the most change has occurred. My family faced some challenges in the last year, battles that weren’t mine to fight. I’ve seen a new side to family members I thought I knew best. My family doesn’t feel as close as it once was and that’s hard for me to accept. BUT, I also have the extended family known as my friends, who have been the best support system. My friends are always there if I need them, but physically seeing each other and coordinating schedules can be, at times, a nightmare. I am SO proud of my friends, their own accomplishments and our ability to make it work. Truth be told though, I miss the close proximity a lot. I’ve also learned to let go of relationships that aren’t healthy anymore. People should add value to your life not continuously stress you out.
  • Self: The last year has been a journey of self-discovery and soul-searching. I know that sounds like a giant cliché but it’s true. I’ve figured out a lot about myself: my interests, my dislikes, how to manage my emotions as well as my relationships. The biggest lesson? I can change my path if I want to (or need to) as long as I am constantly bettering myself. I’m also trying to push myself outside of my comfort zone more. Example #1: Running a 5K in July.

be-in-love-with-your-life-every-minute-of-it

  • Community: In college, there were so many opportunities to give back to the community. In the last year, I haven’t volunteered or mentored as much as I would like to. I’ve always enjoyed mentoring younger people and would love to find a program close by to do that. My goal for the next year is to volunteer at least once a month.

Overall, I’d say it’s been a great first year in the real world. There were (and will always be) moments of uncertainty, doubt, fear and resentment. You can’t prevent these types of moments, though I’ve tried. I can’t go back to college no matter how many times I cry about it. Embracing this monumental change still challenges me.

For the first time in a while, I am extremely proud of myself for taking chances, being honest with myself and others and living my life for me. It’s been a year of change and adjustment but it’s also been the most trilling ride of my life.

Family Fridays: Heaven Must Have Sent You

April is an action-packed month meaning there’s a bunch of very important birthdays. If you stopped by the blog yesterday, you heard about my friendship with Trish who celebrated her birthday yesterday. Today is another very important Aries’ birthday…

There’s no one quite like my mom. If you’ve been lucky enough to have met her, you’ll completely understand what I’m saying. She has these little whit-isms, snippets of advice, if you will that make total sense but also make you crack up. For example:

“Some days you’re the bat. Some days you’re the ball.”

momThink about it. It makes complete sense but you absolutely smiled while reading it. There’s more than just these pieces of advice too. She’s an NYU graduate, put herself through college while working, raised  two kids and is an executive director at Morgan Stanley. She makes jokes about everyone, including herself. She raised me on 70’s Disco, The Beatles, Mariah Carey’s 1’s CD and TLC, among many others. She works very hard but also knows how to enjoy life. She listens to all my crazy stories, gives sound advice and is the best cook I’ve ever met. She’s my mom so you’d assume I’m a little biased, right?

Ok, I probably am biased. But not entirely. My mom is tough in every sense of the word. Tough meaning her expectations for everyone including herself are exceptionally high. Tough meaning she’s good at hiding how she really feels. Tough meaning she can take on the world but demands we all do the same. At a point in time, I didn’t see any of this or understand it. It took years,  going away to college and several screaming matches for me to realize I’m lucky to have the mom I do.

We never used to get along the way we do now. Trust me, there’s still moments when I wonder what inmom2 the name of all things holy is she thinking. Guaranteed she thinks the same thing about me. We figured it  out despite our differences. Our personalities are not exactly alike though there are some similarities: how we cook and host parties, the music we like, how hard we work and how passionate we are. There’s a bunch of differences too: I’m more OCD, she’s more focused, I’m more emotional and she’s better with money and numbers. We’re certainly not the same person, but the important traits have stuck. When I say I got it from my mama, I’m not lying.

In 22.5 years, my relationship with my mom has grown and changed over and over again. She is my role model, the reason why I believe I can do both, the career and the family. We don’t get it right every day or even every other day. But, we try to learn from each other. I’m so lucky to have her as my mom  and can’t wait to celebrate her birthday tonight! The song that inspired this post’s title is below.

Hero Material

I’m not giving up on this Truth Challenge! There’s just been so many other things I’ve wanted to discuss! That being said, let’s keep it moving on to Day 14.

Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)

I won’t give you a detailed list of all the people I consider heroes. Lucky for me, the list of people who inspire me is long and constantly changes. My parents, family members, friends, professors and colleagues can, at times, be considered my heroes. I admire my parents’ ability to raise their kids together despite getting divorced. My friends inspire me every day with their ability to overcome adversity and walk to the beat of their own drum. My current colleagues are truly heroes for how they’re mentoring me while working on multiple projects and raising their own kids.

I am a believer in everyday heroes, ordinary people who do the extraordinary. Sure, there are some celebrities that could be considered heroes. For me, it’s people like Ellen DeGeneres and Cory Booker, who stay true to themselves and are always looking for ways to help others. That’s how I define my heroes: people who stay true to themselves, who believe in paying it forward and who are passionate about what they do. I know it doesn’t sound too remarkable, but to me it is.

The one thing about heroes is that sometimes they have no idea how much other people value them and their opinions. When you consider someone your hero, you value their opinion and almost hang on every word they say. They have been placed on a pedestal without even knowing it. If you put someone that high up, they only way they can go is down. It sets everyone up for failure. With heroes, be transparent and talk to them about why you place them in such a category. Managing expectations is very important and will create a mutually beneficial relationship.

Who are your heroes? Why do you consider them heroes? Please share with me!

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